Boeing 747-400 N949CA Of National Airlines (National Air Cargo) Crashes After Takeoff At Bagram Air Field In Afghanistan

by Aviation News Reporter on May 1, 2013

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A National Air Cargo Boeing 747-400 freighter on behalf of US Mobility Command, registration N949CA performing cargo flight N8-102 from Bagram (Afghanistan) to Dubai Al Maktoum (United Arab Emirates) with 7 crew and cargo consisting of 5 military vehicles, has crashed shortly after takeoff from Bagram Air Base’s runway 03 at 15:30L (11:00Z) and erupted into flames near the end of the runway within the perimeter of the Air Base. All 7 crew are reported perished in the crash.

The video: A plane comes into the camera’s view, its nose appropriately pitched upward after takeoff. But instead of propelling onward and out of sight, the airplane hangs in the air for a moment, almost upright, before falling suddenly to the ground. It immediately erupts into a ball of flame upon contact with the Earth.

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What we know: The Boeing 747-400 cargo plane, owned by National Airlines in Orlando, Fla., took off on April 29 from Bagram Air Field, just north of Kabul, Afghanistan. It reached an altitude of about 1,312 feet before crashing within the base and killing all seven of the crew members on board. A spokeswoman for the company said the crew was composed of four pilots, two mechanics, and a load master, who was responsible for managing the weight and balance of the cargo.

The Taliban initially claimed responsibility for the crash. But NATO immediately shot down that assertion, saying there were no reports of insurgent activity in or around the base — the biggest in Afghanistan.

The National Transportation Safety Board is reportedly sending a team of investigators, as well as representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing, to Afghanistan to assist local authorities.

Early evidence suggests some cargo in the hold of the plane may have shifted during takeoff.

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